(Last Updated on April 12, 2021 by GERALD NCUBE)
HARARE – The MDC Alliance has condemned the recent passport fee hikes announced by government which pegged the price for an ordinary passport at US$60.
Government recently adjusted passport fees, citing viability concerns.
“The MDC Alliance condemns the latest increase in passport fees announced by the Minister of Information. Our main concern is that the new fees are unaffordable for the common person whose wages are in Zimbabwe Dollars and have been eroded by inflation and contradictory, unsound monetary policies by the regime in Harare. The maladministration is compounded by the fact that most workers including teachers, doctors and other civil servants do not earn United States Dollars,” said the opposition’s secretary for Home Affairs Ruth Ndlovu.
Ndlovu further said the pegging of the prices in US dollar was an admission that the local currency had collapsed.
“The pegging of the fees in United States dollars constitutes to an admission that the Zimbabwe Dollar has collapsed despite attempts by Treasury to contend that the local dollar is the only viable currency in the country. The prohibitive fees are an infringement of citizens’ right to freedom of movement enshrined in section 66(1)(c) of the Constitution which entitles every citizen the right to a passport and travel documents,” Ndlovu added.
The opposition called for alignment of civil servant’s salaries about the prevailing inflation rates.
“We call for the alignment of workers’ wages with the reality that basic state services are now being charged in United States Dollars. Civil servants, teachers and doctors must be paid a living wage to ensure that they can afford basic identity and travel documents such as a passport. The continued implementation of anti-poor economic policies that rob the common person of a decent wage must end forthwith.”
Recently, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa announced that Cabinet had approved an adjustment to the passport fees which adjusted the price for an ordinary passport to US$60 while the three-day one will cost US$200.
The country has been battling with a passport backlog dating back to 2019.